Life is a Balance Act

I was invited to give a presentation about dreams at the Kenniscafe in Haarlem, the Netherlands. This Mindfunda is a blog about that presentation. Here you can read the presentation in the Dutch Language.susanneinhaarlem


If you look at this film you see some balance artists. We feel like this often in life. We have to balance between what we want and what we can achieve. We need to balance between our finances and our hearts desires. Sometimes we have an inner balance struggle between our rational brain and our intuition. Sometimes, like the people in the beginning of the film, we just stay standing on the side, looking at others.


We live in a world where dreams have disappeared. We live in a world where facts are appreciated above wisdom. Our society has become this rationale since there was a need for industrialisation, in 1750. Schools teach rules instead of creativity. If our children get tested, their score gets diminished when they make mistakes. But you and me know that is where the learning begins.

We human beings, our bodies are constructed around balance. There has to be a homeostatic balance in our body, for us to function well. Nature is the same. Nature is build out of cycles: the cycle of water for instance. Being out of balance has had some terrible consequences. Never before were so many people depressed.

Einstein was a man who was balanced. Being a mathematician he was inspired by a dream that changed his live and gave him the idea of relativity. He had this dream when he was very emotional. One of my keys tonight is emotion, this was also the key for Einstein. His father had told him that he was good for nothing, and that he should become a plumber. Offended, because he knew in his heart he could be so much more, Einstein fell asleep. In his dream he was on a hill with his friends at night. They had sledges, the hills were covered with snow. When it was Einstein his turn, he looked at the stars while sledging downhill. The light of the stars exploded into a visual spectrum. Looking at the stars made his sledge move faster and faster… Until he exceeded the speed of light. This dream kept him motivated until his career was launched.

Tonight I will give you four keys that you can use to restore your inner balance. Little ways to increase your creativity. I want to make you as rebellious as the cute little girl at school who had to make a drawing. “I am going to draw God” she said. “You can’t do that”  her teacher told her, “because nobody has ever seen God”. “They will after I have drawn him” said the little girl.
I want to encourage you to be like that little girl.

Dream Incubation the first key to balance


Did you know you can use your dreams to find an answer to a problem? One of the best ways I can explain the process of dream incubation is by telling you the story of one of my hero’s Frederik Banting. Being diabetic since the age of 11, my inner balance is broken physically. I can restore it by injecting insulin. I am able to inject insulin because of a dream Frederik Banting had an intuition about how to save diabetic people. He got a lab and some dogs. He was very worried about the health of his dogs. So much that he took his problems to bed with him. That night in a dream he saw how he could isolate insulin out of the pancreas of the dog. the dog was injected and his health improved.

What did Banting do? He was involved in the process. If you want to incubate a dream about something, you have to occupy yourself with it. Search for solutions. At night, concentrate on your favorite solution. Write about it. Make a mantra and softly say that while falling asleep, Tell yourself that you will remember and understand your dreams. Interpret each dream as an answer to your question.

Lucid Dreams, the second key to balance


In June there will be an IASD conference at the abbey of Rolduc in Kerkrade (this abey was also founded because of a dream). There will undoubtedly by very much attention for psychiatrist and writer Frederik van Eeden. As a researcher of the different forms of consciousness, Frederik had tought himself the ability of lucid dreaming. You can do too.

Frederik had a dream journal that gave him clear insight into his regular dream symbols. You can do the same thing. Every time you encounter a dream symbol in waking life (your partner, your children for example) you do a reality check. You test if you have a memory of a previous event. If you are dreaming this will not be easy. Another test is to turn on a light. in dreams this never works.

Carlos Casteneda, who was famous in the 70’s of last century had a hand method. You always have your hands with you. Before you go to bed (just like in the incubation method) you look at your hands and say to yourself: “tonight in my dream I will look at my hands and know that I am dreaming. It sounds too simple to be true, but it has worked for numerous dreamers like Robert Waggoner and Stanley Krippner.

Another way of lucid dreaming is using a mask that gives you a signal when you are in REM sleep (rapid eye movement). A good one is Novadreamer of Stephan LaBerge.


There are also some pills like galantamine to induce lucid dreaming. take these pills at your own risk.

Galantamine on Amazon

My experience with galantamine is that it does induce lucid dreaming and it enhances dream recall. You have to take them in the night, otherwise they will interfere with your sleep rhythm.

emotions and dreams balance tip #3


When ever people ask me if they can talk to me about their dreams, my first question is: what was the feeling when you woke up? Emotions are usually a key to finding a meaning in your dream.

Do you remember the film Inside out? Emotions are not always tolerated to express in the daily world, but for our brains they are the facts of life. Using your dreams to integrate unwanted emotions is the speedway to achieving inner balance. you will be surprised at the stories you tell yourself in the night. You will discover joy, anger (your power), sadness (treasure things that are lost), contempt (and find out what position you attribute to yourself in society), and use them in a creative way.

Dream journal Balance tip #4

It is very important to write down each morning what you remember. it is like a message to your subconscious: “I am listening!”. if you are doing it the old-fashioned way: using a paper journal, make sure you leave one side of your journal blank. Before the night starts, write down which theme your day had. Which emotions kept you occupied. What you ate. If you like it, write down the phase of the moon  (Connie Kaplan tells you about the importance of the moon in dreams). On the other side of the journal write down your dreams in the present tense. Give your dreams a title. Make a list of dream symbols and write your first association down. Retell the story using your associations.

Nowadays I work with the app Evernote. I like the digital recording of my dreams because it is so easy to retrieve themes and symbols this way. I like Evernote because  I can upload my art and drawings too, that I made for the dream.


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